In the continuous search for the improvement and improvement of quality in education, the indicators are an inseparable part, constituting what in Fayol's view is one of the four pillars of management: control. After all, without adequate measurement, it is impossible to assess the effects of the decisions taken and the educational policies adopted, also making any credible planning based on evidence and not “guesswork” impossible.
But the theme is complex and there is no simple solution, since it involves countless different educational perspectives, several factors involved, in addition to regional, economic and social aspects from which education cannot be seen in a dissociated way. More specifically in higher education, this discussion has long been questioned as to the real ability to measure the quality of education from official indicators produced by the Ministry of Education, through Inep.
This debate gained strength when the Court of Auditors, through the judgment of 1,175 of 2018, confirmed this finding by auditing the MEC's regulation and evaluation processes, stating that the Preliminary Course Concept (CPC) and the Course Concept (CC) “Do not reflect the quality / excellence of higher education courses”, in practice constituting a mere “ranking among the evaluated courses”.
The arguments became even stronger in December 2018, when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concluded the report entitled “Rethinking quality assurance for higher education in Brazil” (Rethinking quality assurance in higher education in Brazil , in free translation), demanded by MEC / Inep in 2017. In its 184 pages, the document openly questions the validity of the IGC (General Course Index) and the CPC for purposes of measuring quality, stating that “its power of discrimination between institutions is low ”and“ does not introduce new performance information for institutional leaders ”.
In view of these and other facts, CONAES (National Commission for the Evaluation of Higher Education) decided, in a recent meeting, to interrupt the dissemination of these indicators, recognizing their inadequacy for the purposes for which they were proposed. At the same time, it left open the possibility of a possible resumption in the development of a new methodology that would allow them to be sufficiently improved.
If, on the one hand, the decision is correct, as it eliminates injustices and possible incorrect interpretations of the results, on the other hand it exposes an important vacuum in the evaluation of the quality of Brazilian higher education, both in its entirety and in terms of courses and institutions. And this has an especially damaging potential in the current context in which Higher Education faces intense dilemmas and questions, both in relation to public and private institutions.
But what about Enade? Yes, in the National Student Performance Exam we find a good indicator of the knowledge acquired by students throughout their undergraduate course and, together with the IDD, the quality of the respective courses and institutions. However, even so, it is not enough to meet all the needs of evaluation and regulation, nor is it immune to methodological criticism.
Despite decades of intense dedication and sincere commitment from researchers, specialists and technicians from MEC and Inep, there is still much to be done in the area, with great potential for contributing to the quality of Brazilian education. Sometimes you have to take a step back and then take two steps forward.